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Evidence doesn't support enhanced possession charges

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Because the state failed to prove that an early training center located near the defendant’s home constituted school property for purposes of enhancing drug charges, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the man’s convictions be reduced.

In Robert A. Baker v. State of Indiana, No. 40A05-1109-CR-503, Robert Baker challenged his convictions of Class B felony possession of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school and Class C felony possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

At Baker’s trial, North Vernon police officer Craig Kipper, who responded to the report of a chemical odor coming from Baker’s apartment, testified that the apartment was approximately 600 feet from the Early Training Center. He said the ETC offered continuing education classes for students who wanted to get their high school diplomas.

Baker argued on appeal that the evidence doesn’t support enhancing his convictions based on the location of the ETC. The judges agreed. The state didn’t point to any evidence presented at trial that showed the ETC was a building or other structure owned or rented by a school corporation or other entity described under Indiana Code 35-41-1-24.7, nor was there evidence that any of the students enrolled in the program were school-age children and not adults or college-age individuals.

Judge Elaine Brown pointed out that previous caselaw has dictated that college and university property does not fall under the term “school property” as used under I.C. 35-41-1-24.7 to support a charge enhancement.

The appellate court ordered that Baker’s convictions be entered as Class D felonies and he be resentenced accordingly.

 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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